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Ex-BBC Host Faces Sexual-Assault Charges in Savile Investigation

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Aug. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Rolf Harris, an Australian entertainer, was charged as part of a U.K. police probe into sexual-assault allegations.

Harris, 83, faces nine counts of indecent assault with girls as young as 14 and four offenses of making indecent images of children, the Metropolitan Police Service said in an e-mailed statement today. The alleged assaults took place from 1980 through 1986, while the images were made last year, police said.

Harris was arrested in March by officers investigating child abuse by people in the entertainment industry. The investigations began last year with accusations against the late British Broadcasting Corp. television star Jimmy Savile, which triggered a scandal at the world’s largest public broadcaster.

“We have determined that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest,” Alison Saunders, chief prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service, said in a separate e-mail.

Lawyers at Harbottle & Lewis LLP, who have represented Harris in the past, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. He is scheduled to appear in court in Lonon on Sept. 23.

Harris, who has been honored three times by Queen Elizabeth II, was the host of U.K. television programs including “Animal Hospital” on the BBC in the 1990s and wrote songs such as “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport” in the 1960s.

Police have made more than a dozen arrests in Operation Yewtree, a probe targeting people who may have engaged in abuse with Savile or acted on their own during the same period. Other people charged in the investigation include publicist Max Clifford and former BBC disc jockey Dave Lee Travis.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy Hodges in London at jhodges17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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